New Delhi: Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami was arrested by the Maharashtra Police Wednesday morning after it reopened a 2018 case in which he was alleged to have abetted the suicide of 53-year-old architect Anvay Naik, and his mother Kumud.
The allegation had led to an FIR being registered against the anchor and two others in Alibaug, a city in Raigad district near Mumbai, where the incident took place. The case was closed by Raigad police in April 2019, apparently due to lack of evidence.
The case came back into the spotlight in May this year when the Maharashtra Congress posted a video of Anvay Naik’s widow Akshata reiterating the allegation that Goswami abetted the suicides. Republic TV then said in a statement that the case was “closed by a court of law”.
In his suicide note, Anvay Naik had claimed that Goswami and the two others — Feroz Shaikh of IcastX/Skimedia, a media services firm, and Niteesh Sarda of Smartwork, which provides “flexible workspaces” — owed him a total of Rs 5.4 crore.
The FIR registered by the Alibaug police said Goswami owed Rs 83 lakh to the architect, who owned a firm called Concorde Designs Pvt Ltd.
In the video shared by Maharashtra Congress, Akshata Naik said the matter was “serious and needs further investigation”.
However, Republic TV had said in a subsequent statement that the allegations and videos on social media were “unfounded”, adding that the case against ARG Outlier Media Pvt Limited, Republic’s parent company, was closed by a court after the police filed a closure report.
Threatening legal action under civil and criminal law, Republic’s statement said ARG Outlier Media Pvt Limited had paid 90 per cent of all dues over two years ago. It said it had since made “repeated attempts” to make a final settlement, and had the full correspondence to prove its claim.
The dues, it added, were transferred to the bank account of Anvay’s company in July 2019, but returned because the account was “inoperative”.
It claimed Akshata had demanded that the dues should be paid to third-party vendors and not Concorde, but refused to cooperate for the settlement “despite emails and messages”.
Other cases against Arnab
Arnab Goswami and the Congress have been at loggerheads since early this year when he was booked for making inflammatory comments against party president Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress is a partner in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, which includes the Nationalist Congress Party.
Goswami had also alleged the Congress was involved in an attack on him in Mumbai.
In June, the Mumbai Police summoned Goswami for another round of interrogation when a complaint was filed against him in April for allegedly creating communal disturbance through his TV show over the gathering of migrant workers in Mumbai’s Bandra. The complainant had alleged that Goswami tried to spread hatred against Muslims.
The Supreme Court had, in May, quashed the multiple FIRs against Goswami, except for the one filed against him for a debate on the Palghar incident.
The Bombay High Court in June stayed two FIRs filed against Goswami, and said no coercive steps should be taken against him until further orders.
Republic TV and two other channels were also booked by the Mumbai Police last month for allegedly fudging TRPs to boost advertising revenues.
Subsequently, Mumbai Police booked senior editors and staff of the channel for airing news about a “revolt” within the force against Commissioner Param Bir Singh.